It’s awesome. Go play it.
Well, okay. I, of all people, should probably substantiate this claim somewhat, if only to watch Mat squirm. So here’s what I’ve learned from my three-ish hours of Arkham City.
Basically, it’s just about everything fans of Arkham Asylum could hope for. Maybe even more.
So let’s make this brief: everything that Arkham Asylum did right appears to have survived into Arkham City. The freeflowing, cinematic combat remains relatively unchanged in principle, though Batman’s got a few new moves added to his arsenal, and if you’ve got access to Catwoman she feels a little different without being a whole new game.
Arkham City dives straight in with the same production and narrative values as its predecessor, and as before it wastes no time giving you a glimpse of some of Batman’s rogues, particularly the Penguin and Two-Face, who were absent from the first game for all intents and purposes. The intro segments are really cool and well-staged, and more engaging than the original’s walk-around of the asylum.
The most immediately noticeable difference here is the open world nature of the game. The eponymous super-prison is a quarantined part of Gotham, with the sort of crazy urban sprawl you’d expect. If you’re familiar with the traversal mechanics from Arkham Asylum, you can pretty much guess how you’ll get around: gliding and grapnel-ing about. Batman doesn’t scale walls the hard way like many of his open-world counterparts. I haven’t dug deep into the side missions yet, but so far the whole thing seems well-planned and executed to avoid the open-world grind.
And what survey of Arkham City‘s strong points would be complete without mentioning the voice cast? Most notably, in my view, Mark Hamill returns as the Clown Prince of Crime himself, after saying, at one point, that Arkham Asylum would be his last outing as Batman’s nemesis. Most people may associate Hamill forever with Luke Skywalker, whiny intergalactic farm boy turned ace pilot turned Jedi Knight, but he’ll always be the Joker to me.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org! Though until Gotham is safe once again, you should probably expect delayed responses.